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Chancellor ignores the retail crisis and offers little to low-paid workers - Spring Statement a missed opportunity says Usdaw

Date: 13 March 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is disappointed that the Chancellor has missed an opportunity, in today’s Spring Statement, to address the deepening crisis in retail and provide substantial help for workers in low-paid insecure work, who are struggling to make ends meet.
Usdaw had called on the Chancellor to:
  • Save our shops with an industrial strategy for a retail sector in crisis.
  • Recognise it’s ‘time for better pay’ with at least £10 per hour and more secure contracts.
  • Immediately halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is deeply disappointing that the Chancellor made no mention of the ‘Armageddon’ on our high streets, as the British Retail Consortium describes the current state of the retail sector. With footfall in long-term decline, 20,000 store closures since 2015 and 93,000 jobs lost last year, we needed action from the Government to help turn it around, not silence.
 
“Restating the commitment to increase the so-called ‘national living wage’ to 60% of median earnings is some reassurance, but the Office of Budget Responsibility now predicts that will result in only £8.72 per hour, a long way short of the original promise of over £9.
 
“We need a long-term strategy that delivers decent pay, secure jobs and changes attitudes towards retail work; giving shopworkers the respect they deserve. That means good pay of at least £10 per hour, a proper contract that reflects the normal hours worked and enough hours every week to make a living.
 
“Working families have also suffered from benefit freezes, which the Chancellor confirmed will not be ended early as he was urged to ditch £1.4 billion of welfare cuts due to come in next month, and they are set to be worse off still when transferred onto Universal Credit. Today the Chancellor did not address this continuing issue impacting so many low-paid workers. Usdaw continues to believe this can only be sorted with a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit and a fundamental rethink of the policy.
 
“These are significant issues that our members face and need substantial interventions from the Government. It appears the Chancellor is not listening.”
 
Usdaw’s ‘Time for better pay’ campaign is calling on the Government to strengthen workers’ rights by introducing:
  • A minimum wage rate of at least £10 per hour for all workers.
  • Minimum contracts of 16 hours per week for everyone who wants one.
  • Contracts based on an individual’s normal hours of work.
  • An end to zero-hours contracts.
For more information: www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP
 
Usdaw’s industrial strategy for retail: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/retailstrategy.aspx
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers